Baroda fought back from the brink to beat Uttar Pradesh in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday. With UP needing 11 runs off the last over, Rishi Arothe, the son of Baroda coach Tushar, was handed the ball and the left-arm pacer succeeded in restricting the opponents to 141-7, taking his team to a narrow three-run win.
Earlier, Baroda had scored 144-7.
With 44 runs required in five overs and nine wickets in hand, the title was well within UP’s grasp. But some brilliant death-over bowling by Munaf Patel, Lukman Meriwala and Arothe swung the dice in Baroda’s favour.
This is their second Mushtaq Ali T20 title after their triumph in 2011-12. In the last over, Arothe bowled three dots up front to pile on the pressure on UP. Thereafter, a single followed by a six over long off ensured the match was still finely balanced. Needing a boundary off the last delivery, Yadav edged the ball to wicketkeeper Pinal Shah leading to jubilation within the Baroda ranks.
“I was confident that my son would deliver. He is a sort of death overs specialist. So, we planned to keep him for the final over. I am proud of him that being the youngest player (18-year-old) in the side he stayed calm in a high pressure situation,” coach Tushar Arothe told mid-day.
Aditya Waghmode in action during the T20 tournament.
Rishi too was delighted with his last-over heroics. “Everybody in the team including the senior players trusted me for the final over. They feel I bowl the best yorkers, so that gave me the confidence. I was only looking to bowl yorkers or low full tosses. I could not execute it well on the fifth ball, but overall I was very happy that I managed to restrict them,” said Rishi.
Talking about his relationship with his father on the field of play, Rishi said: “The best part about him is that he treats me like any other player.”
Meanwhile, although UP had wickets in hand, their skyrocketing asking rate was a matter of concern. Their first six came only on the last ball of the 17th over with Prashant Gupta (53-ball 68) smacking one over midwicket. Trying a similar shot on the next ball, Gupta holed out to Abijit Karambelkar at long off, off Meriwala, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his 3-31.
Eklavya Dwivedi too scored a 47-ball 58 but he was dismissed just when UP needed him the most to accelerate the run rate. UP coach Venkatesh Prasad accepted that his team would have won comprehensively had they not thrown away their wickets.
Last-match centurion Gupta continued in the same form as he made a 53-ball 68 that was laced with eight fours and a six, while 'keeper-bat Dwivedi made 56 off 47 balls that comprised six fours.
UP lost the plot after Gupta was caught brilliantly at mid-on by Abhijit Karambelkar in the 17th over and later lost quick wickets to finish short of the finishing line.
Left-arm medium pacer Lukman Meriwala, who was the highest wicket taker in the tournament, scalped 3 for 31. Brief scores:
Baroda: 144 for 7 (A Waghmode 42, K Devdhar 26; P Kumar 2 for 24, A Murtaza 2 for 22) beat Uttar Pradesh 141 for six (P Gupta 68, E Dwivedi 56; L Meriwala 3 for 31). PTI DS SSR GK